GSD&M Launches Strategy Studio

Austin-based creative agency expands strategic leadership with a series of promotions and new hires

Austin, TX – July 9, 2018 – GSD&M announced today the launch of its Strategy Studio, a diverse community of generalist marketing strategists and decision sciences specialists. By bringing a broader range of strategic disciplines together in a nimble, collaborative model, the agency will be able to provide deeper insights and deliver a uniquely comprehensive level of strategic leadership to each of its clients.

Meeting brands’ increasing demand for real strategic leadership from their creative agencies, the Strategy Studio approach is currently being implemented across GSD&M’s roster of clients. Core capabilities range from traditional brand planning, to communications, social, audience and experience strategy, decision sciences and analytics, and advertising technology.

A series of leadership developments for Strategy Studio include an expanded role for VP/Group Strategy Director Jim Firestone, who is now responsible for building out capabilities and ways of working while managing the Studio community; Janice Suter as VP/Social Media, reinforcing the centrality of GSD&M’s strategic social media practice; and Shannon Jensen, formerly Media Director, who will now serve as Director of Advertising Technology.

“There is a need for a new business model within the industry to build and deliver modern strategic solutions to connect brands and consumers in more impactful and meaningful ways,” said GSD&M President Marianne Malina. “Our Strategy Studio amplifies the way we’re already working with clients while giving us the flexibility to be more integrated – to provide deeper insights, be faster, nimbler and smarter, and deliver stronger storytelling with ideas that make a difference.”

Another piece of this evolution includes the return of Mikael Greenlief as Director of Communication Strategy, and the promotion of David Zwickerhill to Director of Analytics.

As the newly appointed Director of Communications Strategy, Mikael Greenlief will be responsible for leading communications planning and strategy for GSD&M’s clients. Mikael will help clients navigate today’s fragmented and complex dynamics between consumers, media and content. Mikael is a firm believer in architecting the entire consumer experience and purposefully considering every encounter a consumer has with a brand. He will lead efforts that produce the media and creative for the right types of behaviors to occur by integrating with brand strategy, creative, media and analytics, as well as social strategy in partnership with VP of Social Media, Janice Suter. A GSD&M boomerang, having previously worked at the agency from 2012-2014, Mikael has since held roles at Carat USA where he was the Head of Global Strategy on Adidas and at Giant Spoon leading Communications Strategy on Old Navy, LEGO, Amazon Studio and others.

As Director of Analytics, David Zwickerhill will be responsible for leading analytics-based decision sciences specialists within GSD&M’s Strategy Studio, working closely with Director of Advertising Technology, Shannon Jensen. David has been instrumental in building GSD&M’s data and analytics practice over the past few years, working across clients like the United States Air Force, Southwest Airlines and others. He is the brains behind the Air Force martech stack that places the brand at the leading edge of all marketers and drives virtually everything the agency creates for the brand. In addition, David played a critical role in the redesign of helping create an intuitive, personalized platform to recruit digital natives – a solution that has generated record results and been recognized with a Silver Cannes Lion in Digital Craft. Prior to joining GSD&M in 2015, David held roles at Seer Interactive and WEX Inc. working across analytics, SEO strategy, content strategy and distribution, customer engagement and lead generation.

“The Studio is a unique approach for the industry, bringing together GSD&M’s long-standing strength in brand planning with our industry-leading decision sciences capability and emerging specialty disciplines,” said Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Teagle and one of the founding leaders involved in the Strategy Studio concept. “The approach, much more flexible than traditional models, allows us to quickly get to more powerful insights, tell more compelling brand stories, and ensure that every idea is making a the biggest possible difference for our clients.”

The development of the Strategy Studio is additional proof of an already strong 2018 for GSD&M. The agency launched its most ambitious work to date: “A Man Like You,” a 3-minute short film for Harry’s redefining modern masculinity, which won a Bronze Glass Lion for Change and Bronze Film Lion at the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival. GSD&M has grown its client business rapidly in 2018, adding iconic brands like Jack Link’s and Pizza Hut to its client roster, and retaining a $741 million contract with the United States Air Force.

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